- After school revision/support classes for Years 7-11
- KS3 Drama Club
Key Stage 3
What are the knowledge and skills that students will gain over Key Stage 3?
At Key Stage 3 we have two main aims in English; to build on and develop the work, particularly the writing, from Key Stage 2, and to begin to introduce the skills which will be needed for Key Stage 4. In both Years 7 and 8 students study a wide range of texts, including novels, poetry and plays, as well as units which focus on English Language through writing and responding to a range of non-fiction texts.
Through these two years students work on their textual analysis, building their confidence in discussing and writing about the texts studied and in forming their own opinions and interpretations of these. From Year 7 onwards we use the PEEL paragraph structure as the usual way of working, with the students developing their analysis each year.
There is also a focus on spelling, punctuation and grammar through Key Stage 3, reflecting the increased number of marks given for this in the GCSE exams. This is integrated into the schemes of work on creative writing and non-fiction texts. Students are expected to write to a standard of reasonable accuracy by the end of Year 8.
Why is it delivered in this way?
In Year 7 we have a phased transition from the plan/draft/edit/publish writing model used in Year 6, to more of a focus on writing in exam conditions as the year progresses. This is to maintain the quality of writing, care and attention which are such key areas of focus in Year 6, while also working on finding ways of achieving this under the pressure of exam conditions.
A transition unit focusing on autobiographical writing starts Year 7, allowing the students to work with something with which they are familiar before the study of texts with the focus on PEEL paragraphs and textual analysis. Units on English Language and English Literature are, for the most part, taught separately to reinforce the idea of these being two different subjects and to prepare for Key Stage 4.
Year 8 builds on the skills introduced in Year 7, with the study of increasingly challenging texts to prepare for Year 9 and the GCSE course.
Key Stage 4
Course Title: AQA GCSE English Language 8700 and AQA GCSE English Literature 8702
What are the knowledge and skills that students will gain over Key Stage 4?
AQA English Literature encourages students to:
• read a wide range of classic literature fluently and with good understanding, and make connections across their reading
• read in depth, critically and evaluatively, so that they are able to discuss and explain their understanding and ideas
• develop the habit of reading widely and often
• appreciate the depth and power of the English literary heritage
• write accurately, effectively and analytically about their reading, using Standard English
• acquire and use a wide vocabulary, including the grammatical terminology and other literary and linguistic terms they need to criticise and analyse what they read.
AQA English Language encourages students to:
• read a wide range of texts, fluently and with good understanding
• read critically, and use knowledge gained from wide reading to inform and improve their own writing
• write effectively and coherently using Standard English appropriately
• use grammar correctly, punctuate and spell accurately
• acquire and apply a wide vocabulary, alongside a knowledge and understanding of grammatical terminology, and linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language
• listen to and understand spoken language, and use spoken Standard English effectively.
Why is it delivered in this way?
Although there are some occasions when English Language is taught through English Literature and vice versa, for the most part the two are taught separately at different times through the GCSE course. This is to avoid confusion between the demands of the exams and to ensure focus on the specific text, unit or assessment objectives.
We start the GCSE English Literature course with Macbeth, allowing enough time for an in-depth study and for the students to focus on some of the ‘new’ demands of the GCSE; learning quotations, focusing on extracts rather than the whole play in written answers. This is then followed by a focus on creative writing, to introduce the students to the demands of English Language through an area on which they have done a lot of work in the past.
We work through Macbeth, the poetry anthology and An Inspector Calls in Year 10, allowing the students enough time to consolidate, develop and improve their knowledge and understanding of these texts before their GCSE exams. On the Language side, the students sit a Language Paper 1 mock exam at the end of Year 10 to give them practice before the mock and real exams in Year 11.
Year 11 starts with Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, being a more challenging text this enables the students to bring all of the analytical skills they have developed through Year 10 to the study of this novel. This is then followed by a mock exam on English Language Paper 2, and a Literature mock exam to give the students as much practice as possible at writing in exam conditions.
Course title: AQA GCE A Level English Literature A, AQA-7711-7712-SP-2015.PDF
What are the knowledge and skills that students will gain over Key Stage 5?
AQA English Literature A encourages students to explore the relationships that exist between texts and the contexts within which they are written, received and understood. Students are encouraged to debate and challenge the interpretations of other readers as they develop their own informed personal responses.
Working with texts over time involves looking at ways in which authors shape meanings within their texts. It also involves thinking about a wide range of relevant contexts, some of them to do with the production of the text at the time of its writing, some (where possible) to do with how the text has been received over time and contexts to do with how the text can be interpreted by readers now.
The subject encourages critical debate, with students required to argue and to show personal responses and critical preferences, supported by the terminology relevant to the topics and contexts with which they are engaging.
Why is it delivered in this way?
In Year 12 we start with The Great Gatsby, which engages the students and introduces them to the ideas of the contexts of production and reception, and Othello which builds on the students’ study of Shakespeare at GCSE. Following The Great Gatsby, the students then study the love poetry anthology due to the requirement to compare these two texts in the exam.
This ‘linking’ pattern is then continued into Year 13 with The First Casualty being taught alongside the WW1 poetry, as the exam question will again ask students for a comparison of these two texts.
The NEA task is introduced at the end of Year 12, giving the students time to read their independent choice text over the summer ready to start writing the essay at the start of Year 13. This also allows a full year for the students to develop their writing and analysis before they start work on this task.